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Jan Cornelissen

Translational stem cell transplantation

The Braakman / Cornelissen Lab conducts translational research in the area of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Umbilical cord blood is an increasingly important source of hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPC) for transplantation. However, the low number of HSPC in cord blood grafts resulted in impaired engraftment and increased mortality in adults. Our research focuses on the improvement of engraftment after cord blood transplantation. In our lab, we concentrate on the development of new approaches to ex vivo expand clinically relevant numbers of cord blood derived HSPC, including HSC that retain self-renewal capacity.  In this work, we use combinations of early acting hematopoietic cytokines and molecular compounds that inhibit the differentiation of HSPC and/or promote homing of HSPC to their bone marrow niche. The expansion of the HSPC compartment is evaluated by flowcytometry,  hematopoietic colony assays and by primary and secondary transplantation experiments in immunodeficient NSG mice. These preclinical studies serve as the foundation for process development activities to prepare a GMP-compliant expansion protocol for clinical application.